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Obese People Are At An Increased Risk Of Contracting COVID-19, Says Study

Many research studies have shown that people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, lung problem, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer have a higher risk of getting coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

But, did you know that coronavirus is also linked to obesity? Yes, as per the World Obesity Organisation, coronavirus patients who are obese are significantly at an increased risk of becoming critically ill with the disease. Given the extremely high rates of obesity around the world, it is expected that a high percentage of the population would be at a greater risk of contracting the disease.

To back this up, 221 hospitalised patients with COVID-19 aged 45 years were studied in China. 60 patients had comorbidities (the presence of one or more additional conditions), 68 patients had lymphopenia and 25 patients had severe illness. The study reported that severe illness was directly associated with body mass index (BMI), which was greater than 28 kg/m2. The study was published in the journal The Lancet [1].

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Another study showed that adults with coronavirus, rhinovirus, metapneumovirus and parainfluenza were more likely to be hospitalised because the patients were underweight and morbidly obese than healthy-weight adults [2].

As per the NHS, BMI below 18.5 means you are underweight, BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 means you are healthy, BMI between 25 and 29.9 range means you are overweight and BMI between 30 and 39.9 range means you are obese.

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What Are The Health Risks Of Obesity?

Obesity can weaken the immune system and increase inflammation, which makes it difficult for the body to fight off the germs. In addition, obesity also puts excess pressure on the lungs, which further increases the risk of coronavirus complications.

Obesity causes other complications too, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, slow metabolism, sleep apnea, heart disease and stroke, kidney disease and osteoarthritis.

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What Is The Current Scenario Of Coronavirus Cases?

According to the Johns Hopkins State University and Medicine, the total confirmed cases have risen to 786,228 and the death toll has gone up to 37, 820 globally.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data on 30 March 2020, in India there are 1117 positive cases of COVID-19 and 32 deaths have occurred so far.

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